Salt is a flavor enhancer, but it has many other functions. Produced in salt marshes or extracted from mines, salt has been sacred to many peoples. Curator, currency, lucky charm…, it has been essential to everyone through the centuries.
Today, salt is also added to industrial dishes: pizzas, lasagna, soups, paellas … And as we eat more and more ready-made dishes, salt is more and more present in our diet.
Almost 75% of our salt intake comes from this type of food, the salt added by the consumer himself (at the time of cooking or just before eating) constituting only the remaining 25% (Source: World Organization health, WHO).
Salt gives more flavor
Manufacturers sometimes have a heavy hand on salt because it enhances and masks the taste of certain low-end products used in prepared meals.
This nutrient also helps increase our feelings of hunger and thirst. It increases the amount of water present in food and increases their weight … In short, adding salt is a real benefit for the food industry …
Excess salt: an enemy for health
The absorption of salt, if it is too much, can have harmful effects on the health. A salt intake greater than 12 grams per day would promote the onset of cardiovascular disease and increase in blood pressure.
And the nutrient is even a trigger for osteoporosis. The excess of salt causes indeed losses of calcium, essential mineral in the solidity of the bones and weakens them.
Consumption higher than the recommendations
In France, the daily salt consumption in a man is currently ten grams, eight in a woman, according to a recent report from the National Food Safety Agency (ANSES).
This rate is higher than what ANSES recommends (8 grams per day for men, 6 for women). As for the WHO, its recommendation is even more severe: less than five grams per day.
With an average of 3 grams of salt per serving, a prepared dish alone represents almost half of the recommended daily allowance. “For some time and under media pressure, agrifood companies have been making efforts to limit these quantities”, underlines Patrick Serog, nutritionist doctor in Paris.
ANSES also recognizes a “reduction in salt intake since 2003, and, in particular, since 2008, following the drop in the salt content of certain food products”.
Know how to read labels
It is better to avoid certain products with too high a salt content such as (2.3 g of salt per 100 g) and (1.4 g of salt per 100 g) added to an already salty diet. Choose low-salt cooked dishes over those with more than 3g per serving of this condiment.
To do this, carefully read the product’s composition label. In order to respect the daily salt balance, it is recommended to choose dishes with less than 1.9 g of salt per serving while keeping in mind that beyond 8 grams of salt per day, the addition will be salty …